Serious Eats: Recipes
The Atty cocktail, which as far as anyone seems to know first appeared in Harry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail Book, appears to be a direct descendent of an earlier cocktail, the Attention. Craddock's book is famous, of course, and not just for its playful design, its impressive length and depth, and its role in helping to keep cocktail culture alive during Prohibition. Craddock's book is also famous for lifting much of its material wholesale from a less well known work, Hugo Ensslin's 1917 book, Recipes for Mixed Drinks.
The Attention appeared in Ensslin's book, as an equal parts melange of gin, vermouth, absinthe, and crème de violette. By all accounts, it's rather vile. Craddock's Atty has the same ingredients, but in far more tasty proportions. The Savoy variant comes across as a dressed-up martini, with the absinthe and violette reduced to much subtler status. The flavors combine surprisingly well. A good gin contains floral elements in its mix of botanical flavors, and the violette nicely calls the floral notes to the fore.
Note: For the gin, I prefer something rich and junipery, like Tanqueray. I suggest using 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each of absinthe and crème de violette, depending on your tolerance for sweetness. You do want to keep them balanced, though, so use the same measure for the absinthe and the violette.
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